Returning veterans find ways to adjust

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A report just released shows the suicide rate among military members reached a record high in 2012 as thousands of veterans struggled to adjust to life when they returned home.

"Last year I had two friends that committed suicide that were overseas with me," said Bryce Tourney, U.S. Army veteran, "but everyone has those thoughts when you get back. It's just to what degree of depression and hopelessness that you have."

"They go into the situation where it's the real McCoy," said Tony Rosario, co-founder of Soldier Songs. "They're in harms way, and it's no joke. There's no way to sugar coat it, and they come home to Mayberry."

Tony Rosario co-founded Soldier Songs, an effort to help veterans cope through music leessons.

"I find music just healing," said Bryce, "and it's a lot of fun just to play in front of people and kind of learn from other people that are in the same situation."

And their motto is simple.

"Take care of the people that take care of us is what really counts," said Tony.

Even corporations are now making an effort to reach out to those who serve our country.

"Our CEO Bill Simon is actually a Navy veteran himself," said Brooke Buchanan, Walmart spokesperson. "He understands the needs for our men and women coming back into civilian life from the military."

The unemployment rate for veterans remains above that for civiliarns, which is why the retail giant will offer 100,000 jobs to veterans throughout the next five years.

"We want to be there for them while they're reintegrating into civilian life from the military," said Brooke.

A life which has been extremely difficult for those on the job hunt.

"A guy my age from around here hasn't done half the things that I've done while I was in the service," said Bryce, "and I got like two call backs."

The jobless rate among veterans dropped from to an annual average of 12.1% in 2011 to 9.9% in 2012, and this year, Walmart will be a part of helping that number decline even further.

Starting Memorial Day, Walmart will offer a position to any honorably discharged veteran in his or her first twelve months off of active duty. The job will be part-time for 28 hours per week.


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